Artist Profiles: Julio A. Santillan

Julio A. Santillan – Photo by Pablo Leoni

Julio A. Santillán is a composer and guitarist originally from Tucuman, Argentina. His compositions combine elements from his home land folk music, jazz improvisation and classical music.

He has studied classical guitar at Instituto Superior de Musica (Argentina) under the direction of maestro Pablo Gonzalez Jasey. He graduated summa cum laude with a dual major in Classical Composition and Contemporary Writing and Production from Berklee College of Music (Boston, USA). He also studied jazz improvisation with Mick Goodrick.

Santillan received the 2004 Van Lier Fellowship, ASACPlus Award, Louis Armstrong Jazz Award, the Arif Mardin Award and the Contemporary Writing and Production Achievement Award.

As a composer/arranger he has produced music for documentary films, theater, recordings and live performances for artists around the world. Recently, Argentine virtuoso guitarist Victor Villadangos, has included guitar studies from Julio’s Book Cinco Estudios Criollos in his latest CD Guitar Music from Argentina vol. II (Naxos).

Julio also produced Colombian singer Marta Gomez’s Cantos de Agua Dulce, Entre Cada Palabra (Chesky Records) and La Ronda- Women of Latin America, Paula Ausente- Women of the World (Putumayo Records).

He has recorded and performed with many musicians from Argentina, Boston and New York including Oscar Stagnaro (Paquito D’Rivera), Livingston Taylor, Raul Carnota and Sandra Mihanovich.

Santillan has shared the stage with important artists such as Mercedes Sosa, John Mayer, Pablo Ziegler (Astor Piazzolla), Paquito D’Rivera, Bonnie Raitt, Tania Libertad, Diana Krall and Leon Gieco. He has performed and gave workshops in Argentina, Colombia, Finland, Greece, Canada and in more than fifty cities in the U.S. including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Miami, Dallas and Washington D.C.

Julio A. Santillan has recorded over 30 CDs, including a play-along CD for The Latin Bass Book (Sher Music, by Oscar Stagnaro), two albums with the Pablo Ablanedo Octet (Freshsound records), four cds with Marta Gomez (BigSur records /Chesky Records)- one of which was chosen among the best 10 records of 2003 by the Boston Globe- and one by tango diva Katie Viqueira (Freshsound records)- Independent Music Award winner, 2005 best World Music Album.

Santillan led for almost 10 years Los Changos (trio & septet); an ensemble that performed his own compositions. The group has been featured in some of the most prestigious venues in the U.S. such as Blue Note (New York) and Regattabar (Boston).

Los Changos toured South America in four opportunities. At the moment Julio is working with a brand new project: the Julio Santillan Trio. He has released four cds with his compositions: Desde el Norte, Anit Negra, Nann and El Bosque de la Memoria (BigSur Records- CAP Records).

He was a faculty member at Manhattan College 2004-2009. Later he moved to Spain where he worked at a music school until 2012. He’s currently the director of the Orquesta-Escuela de Chascomús in buenos Aires.

Discography

Desde el Norte (Big Sur Records, 2001)
Anit Negra (Big Sur Records, 2003)
Nann (Big Sur Records, 2005)
El Bosque de la Memoria (Big Sur Records, 2008)
Argentinian Jazz in New York (Big Sur Records, 2009)
Un instante (Big Sur Records, 2011)
Meia laranja (Big Sur Records, 2012)
Va place tango? (Big Sur Records, 2015)

Bibliography

Cinco Estudios Criollos, a book with five studies for guitar based on Argentine folk rhythms (chacarera, milonga, cueca, guarania and malambo).

Website: www.juliosantillan.com

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

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